What Is Did (Disassociative Identity Disorder)


Defining Did or The Definition Of

Earnesthub had requested a hub be written on this interesting topic as it was presented on BBC and a woman had gained notoriety on this unusual topic. If any of you remember the story of "Sybil" in which Sally Field played Shirley Ardell Mason pseudonym, "Sybil. You will begin to get the picture of what DID or "disassociative identity disorder is.

DID formerly known as multiple personality disorder is a condition in which a person takes on more then one personality, or distinct identity. Each of the individual personalities are very assertive to one another controlling the effected personalities behavior. Each individual personality has their own name, their own past, their own identity and their own self-image.

Referencing the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition tex revision or (DSM-IV-TR) on mental disorders, it is noted that psychologists and psychiatrists debate its nature and or existence.

Description of DID

 DID "disassociative identity disorder" is a new name that characterizes the disruption of a person's identity that characterizes the disorder. Unlike "multiple personality disorder", a person is completely aware of one or more of their personalities or self-image while be completely unaware or diassociated from other aspects of it. It is the main feature of this disorder as it takes only two distinctive personalities to qualify DID , half of all patients have appr. 11 identities or less. In rare cases there have been patients who have over 100 different personalities. Alter personalities alternate and control the person's consciouness and behavior the party who is effected experiences lon gaps in memory that exceed the typical episodes of forgetting that occur in those who are not diagnosed with DID.

In many cases a primary personality exists, despite the other personalities that are lurking in the distance, The primary personality uses the name that is was born with and normally tends to be subdued,dependent, guilt-ridden and depressed.The alternate personalities have their own names and unique traits about each other. The alternate personalities are distinguished by mannerisms, likes and dislikes, expression, posture and body language. It is not uncommon for the other personalities to take on different genders, ages, sexual preferences, or nationalities. Normally it takes merely split seconds for the alter personality to replace another personality. The alter personalities are commonly triggered by some type of stressful event.

People with DID tend to be diagnosed with other severe disorders as well including depression, substance abuse, eating disorders amongst others. The degree of the condition can range from mild to severe and in some cases can lead to suicide attempts, violence, self-mutilation and severe drug abuse. If not treated by psycho-therapy this disorder can last a lifetime and for some it can also cause death.

Causes of DID

 Causes leading up to DID are as follows

 *Physical or Sexual Abuse during childhood

* Lack of support or comfort to counteract abusive relative(s)

* Inability to disassociate more normally then others

* influnenced by other relatives with DID symptoms or disorders

Primary cause of DID is severe prolonged child abuse and trauma during childhood. It can be either physical, emotional or sexual abuse during that time, or a combination of all three.

Symptoms of DID

 There are four major symptoms which are signs of DID being only a nurse I would recommend that if you know someone who may have these types of warning signs or symptoms always seek medical advice from a specialized doctor who is able to identify, distinguish and provide the proper treatment.

Amnesia: Remember what we discussed about gaps in memory? The DID person report that they cannot remember purchasing a certain item, finding notes written in different handwriting, or other unusual activity that is outside the norm.

Depersonalization: This symptom is simply explained as the party feels that his or her body is changing, is unreal, or is disappearing.

Derealization: Many parties do not recognize their relatives and the person percieves the environment as being artificial or not real. Parties may see walls , buildings, shapes, change in size, shape or color.

Identity Disturbances: Persons who suffer from DID normally have a main personality that psychiatrists refer to as a "host". It is not normally the person's original personality but one who suffered childhood trauma and seeks help.Did patients are more normally then not frightened by the experiences that they are having which can include using awareness for days or even hours, meeting people who claim to know them or feeling "out of body" or as if they were dissolving.

Diagnosis of DID

 Diagnosing DID "disassociatve identity disorder" is very complicated as some of the symptoms will overlap with other mental disorder symptoms. Misdiagnosing is common and can include diagnosing patients as being depressed, schizophrenia,borderline personality disorder, panic disorder amongst other disorders.

Due to the disassociative order being so frightening many patients end up in the emergency room, or doctor's offices believing that they are go insane.

When a doctor is evaluating a patient for DID, they will first rule out physical conditions that sometimes produce some of the symptoms that we discussed. If they patient is determined to be physically healthy, the doctor will proceed to rule of psychotic disturbances including schizophrenia. If the doctor suspects DID " disassociative identity disorder", they can use a screening test called "Disassociative Experiences Scale" or the shorter term is simply (DES). If the patient scores high on the test can be further evaluated with the Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule (DDIS) or the Structured Clinical Interview for Disassociative Disorders (SCID-D). 

Treatments of Disassociative Identity Disorder

 Being treated by a therapist is highly recommended as many are trained and specialize in diassociation. It is important that the therapist has been specialized as the patients personality 'switches can become confusing or shocking. Many patients with Dissociative Identity Disorder have very hostile or suicidal alter personalities. PsychoTherapy for DID patients normally have several stages

Stage 1: Uncovering or mapping the alter personality

Stage2: Treating the traumatic memories and bring the personalities together or simply called "fusing."

Stage3: Consolidation or combining all of the personalities and treating the patients newly combined personality.

Once this process has been completed then the second phase of treatment begins with family therapy which helps the famil cope and deal with DID , how to understand it and the changes that occur during personality reintegration.

Some Doctors will treat their patient with prescribed medications such as tranquilizers or anti-depressants because their other personalities may have mood or anxiety disorders. Many therapist however tend to keep the medications to a minimum as some patients have another personality who can become addicted to alcohol or drugs which are dangerous and can be deadly if not used properly.

Lastly Hypnosis which not always necessary can assist with "fusing" the multi personalities as part of the patients personality integration disorder.

Prevention of DID

The easiest way of prevention is to have it treated as early as possible and requires intervention in abusive families, if left untreated can can cause years and years of disorders and possibly suicide. There has not been any long term studies on DID so the long term outcome of DID currently does not exist. Although treatment does take several years therapists believe it is ultimately effective on the patient. Stress or different types of substance abuse can cause a relapse at anytime.

For further information on DID you may contact the following:

www.issd.org International Society for the Study of Disassociation

www.nami.org/helpline/did.html National Alliance For The Mentally ill


For a better understanding of what "DID" is formerly known as "multiple personality disorder, read or rent the movie entitled "Sybil" written in 1976 this is based on a true story of Shirley Ardell Mason whose childhood upbringing suffered extreme abuse from the hands of her mother and during extensive therapy Dr. Cornelia Wilbur had found at least 16 different personalities.

I also hope that the videos below will provide you of a clearer understanding warning , the first video could be disturbing.

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Comments 52 comments

blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

I will never forget the movie Sybill.I would not wish DID on anybody.The videos too AE were really sad. It really makes you think.....

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

BP: EarnestHub had made a request and being a nurse I figured I could add a little insight, we see people come in with that more often then you know, however since nurses are not doctors we are not allowed to diagnose but I have seen it and it is very frightening and very sad. :(

blondepoet profile image

blondepoet 7 years ago from australia

Shame to the monsters in their lives that made them that way.......I think you would make a great nurse AE...(Hugs)x0x0x

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

BP: I am a E.R. Nurse :) it is o.k. it has been a long weekend.:) Hugs XOXOXOXO:) ((((HUGS)))

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

I don't know what to say about this, AEvans. Of all the mental illnesses, this has got to be among the most scary -- and even more important, the most PREVENTABLE. I sincerely hope you don't encounter too many patients with these symptoms. Very, very frightening. Great read, tho. MM

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Mighty Mom: I all of my years it has been a handful however I become speechless when I see it , as it is really very sad and very eerie, it certainly is preventable and if the abuses would stops so would some of the mental diseases that are created by them.:)

TheSandman 7 years ago

Very Disturbing, I agree with BP, the monsters who made a normal child become this way , there is no punishment severe enough for them.But maybe it's also a vicious circle, those monsters may have also been the victims of monsters.

Great and what must have been a most difficult job AE. I admire you for taking it on and obviously you were the Right person to do so.

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

BP: It is sad , so sad I to also understand.:)

Sandman: It is very disheartening and disgusting but hopefully time will change things. I hope the best for those who are diagnosed with DID.:)

vrajavala profile image

vrajavala 7 years ago from Port St. Lucie

very informative. Thanks for the info.

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

vrajavala: You are most welcome!!!!:)

mayhmong profile image

mayhmong 7 years ago from North Carolina

Yes this is actually something that I am currently being diagnose with. It was one of the most scariest feeling ever. It was tough enough as writing my hub of attempting suicide, when I first had it.

Its as if nothing is real, but a dream. I don't feel like I'm in my own body or are aware of my surroundings. Wish I can get more help, but there are hardly anyone who knows how to diagnose DID plus the cost. Guess I'm trapped in this materialized body for the rest of my life...

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Mayhmong: Keep searching as there are Doctors out there who can diagnose as it is better to be treated then live with the disorder all of your life, continue to seek help and get the therapy that is needed. I support you 110% you can do it!!! (((Big Hugs))):)

mayhmong profile image

mayhmong 7 years ago from North Carolina

Thanks, its really hard to find the right therapist who can help out. Most of them would just listen to my cries and not offer much help. Guess after tax season, I probably can hunt for a good therapist.

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Mayhmong: What part of the country are you in?? You can e-mail me if you do not want the entire world to know, when I go to work tomorrow I will ask some of our wonderful Doctors as someone always knows somebody. :) I will be happy to assist you, if you wish for me too. :)

Rainbow Brite 7 years ago

AE - great hub! I wrote an essay on DID my junior year of highschool, and I learned a lot. I am still fascinated by the disorder, as I am by all psychology. I am in the process of finding that essay, and when I do, I plan to post it in answer to this request as well.

Mayhmong - stay strong, my friend, and stay in close contact with your doctor(s). One of the cardinal mistakes that many patients with DID make is either alienating themselves from those that have the capacity to help them, or believing that those that have the capacity to help them in fact do not or would use that power to harm. They are good people and they just want to help! Let them!

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Rainbow Brite: I am happy that you write on the disorder as there are so many out there , and it breaks your heart. I enjoyed psych when I was in school and I also have a very deep admiration for people and I love taking care of them too, I am glad that you enjoyed and I am also looking forward to your article.:)

mayhmong profile image

mayhmong 7 years ago from North Carolina

I'm trying to figure out how to e-mail you privately without giving away my e-mail address! I already have enough junk mail as it is after joining project payday.

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

When you e-mail through HP it is private and you won't get any junk as we are all verified. :)

Silver Freak profile image

Silver Freak 7 years ago from The state of confusion

AE, marvellous article! I woldn't wish DID on my worst enemy. The pain and trauma the sufferers have been through is enough to drive a person to suicide and they learn to cope the only way they can. You have to admire their courage.

Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Very informative AE! I can't watch the videos, so not sure which one you posted, but I'm reminded of the movie "Primal Fear", I think Edward Norton had DID, and acted it out beautifully!

Mr Nice profile image

Mr Nice 7 years ago from North America

Hi AEvans!

How are you today? Another very informative hub. I found a duplicate of you if the avatar is your real one. Come visit my link & see for yourself.


Also visit my new hub about Tokyo thanx.


Hi mayhmong!

Here is a disposable email service you can use for other purposes in future but not when emailing me....hahaha have fun just kidding.


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Silverfreak: I certainly do admire there courage and bravery.

Elena: The first one is a little hard to watch as it hurts your heart, however it is reality. I also watched primal fear and I would say that could be a good example.

Mr. Nice: What good taste you have, as one of them I could be, yes my avatar is me, and I certainly wish I made there kind of money, many say we all of a twin and I guess I do. :) I also enjoyed your article...:)

Frieda Babbley profile image

Frieda Babbley 7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

What an excellent hub. Great info and the videos were, so interesting, so sad. Thanks for writing on this topic.

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Frieda, They are sad however it is also reality that there are people out there who have this issue and it is a very horrible thing.:( Thanks for reading it.:)

Iphigenia 7 years ago

Really, really great hub. Once again on hub pages I have learned about something that I had never heard of before. And this thing is so bad that a baby can walk at 7 months in an attempt to escape ? Too hard, too difficult to comprehend.

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Ipigenia: It is complicated isn't it??? It is difficult but many suffer from this disorder, and we tend to think they are insane , not realizing the circumstances that unfold behind the issue. :(

sophieqd profile image

sophieqd 7 years ago

What Is Did

Very sensible advice, thanks for your hub.

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

sophiqd: What sensible advice??? I was just explaining the signs and symptoms and diagnoses, which is sad , very sad.:(

dagny roth profile image

dagny roth 7 years ago from Neverland

AEvans...this is such a sad disorder. Especially the root of it's cause. I am a huge advocate against Child Abuse!

Another amazing book and true story similar to Sybil but I think she had even more personalities is called, "When Rabitt Howls" but there is also a movie about this called:

Voices Within: The Lives of Truddi Chase

Great informative hub!

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

dagny roth: Both of those sound very interesting, I believe I am also going to check those out and I am also an advocate for child abuse, it is so sad and this disorder is unbearable. :(

Socio-Image profile image

Socio-Image 7 years ago

The untreated and undiagnosed populations that have been ravaged by rape and torn families in third-world countries will never know what D.I.D. is. Especially, in countries like Bangladesh where there was mass gendercide (killing of only males) and rape must of left a majority with the symptoms neccessary to aquire DID.

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Socio-Image : What an enlightment and very deep thinker as that would be defintiely true.:)

Adrianna's Pages profile image

Adrianna's Pages 7 years ago

I have seen this a few times in my nursing career. What has happened to these individuals is sad, the amazing thing about these people is that they have the capacity to try an protect themselves in the only way they know how...thru creating these "layers" of people to cushion their intense psychological pain.

The last post here was three weeks ago. Mayhmong:How is that person faring? Were you able to hook them up with a therapist?

Very informative hub. Interesting videos. I remember the movie "Sybil" Very sad.

Adrianna's Pages profile image

Adrianna's Pages 7 years ago

Oh...and by the way, I have many friends in the "ER" biz.

I always joke that they(ER) get all the chaos and then they send to me(ICU) all tied up in a nice neat bow! I really respect ER nurses...I like my mayhem controlled, thank you. lol

AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Adrianna: May is getting counseling as we comment. She is the cutest little thing here on HP, I am a little worried about her though as I haven't seen her on here for a few days which concerns me.

You are absolutely hilarious all tied up in a nice neat bow, my friend Dana who works CCU says the same thing. I love working in ER but Ii certainly didn't like it at the end of last week, good grief it was as if God was calling everyone home. It was heartbreaking when the families cry, I cry but I am looking forward to a brighter tomorrow. :)

dr c profile image

dr c 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area


Enjoyed your hub! I also have a hub on DID if you are interested in further information.


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Dr.C : Thanks I will certainly check it out and I am glad you enjoyed my hub as well. :)

Tera  6 years ago

Where is a doctor that will not think I am just plain razy, I live in Tampa FL any advice? I do not need to be brushed off but want a open minded evaluation.

AEvans profile image

AEvans 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Tera: You will have to start with a psycho-therapist in your area contact your regular M.D. who may refer you to a Psychiatrist or Psycho-Therapist for evaluation, believe me they will not think you are crazy many people suffer, some will get assistance others will not at least you are making an effort to be evaluated so that you can live a healthy life. :)

George Stuart  6 years ago

Very interesting and well written hub. I have DID and its taken me ten years to find the right therapist. x

AEvans profile image

AEvans 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

George Stuart: I am glad that now you have the assistance that is needed, I have an old elementary friend that has the same thing and it is sad to see all that she endures. Stay strong and you can get through it. :)

Moulik Mistry profile image

Moulik Mistry 6 years ago from Burdwan, West Bengal, India

It is excellent writing, loved to know a great deal about DID...

AEvans profile image

AEvans 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

Moulik Mistry: Thank you! Glad to also know that you found this hub very interesting.:)

stephane86 6 years ago

Your posts are always very informative. Thank you very much. I tend to conflate both DID and MPD, so I guess I learned a lot. I should have taken more psychology courses...

AEvans profile image

AEvans 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

stephane86: Psych is so much fun but as we both know that you must always take that course with any open mind. I am glad that you were able to determined the difference between DID and MPD. :)

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Thank you for writing this very informative hub AEvans, I asked the question hoping someone like yourself would answer it and I am very pleased with your response.

Top drawer hub as usual. The mind has an amazing array of defensive mechanisms and this is one that was not well understood by many until now that is.

Janeal Mulaney profile image

Janeal Mulaney 5 years ago

Very interesting hub, so sad that adults can cause so much harm to the ones who depend on them and love them unconditionally. Thanks for letting me know what DID is and what to look for.

AEvans profile image

AEvans 5 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

earnesthub: Our brains are as unique as ourselves. It is intricately designed. Thank you for asking me to write about it. I hope it gives others understanding.

Janeal Mulaney: I am also happy to provide better understanding into an interesting condition. :)

iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

You have written a very informative hub on a very disturbing mental disorder. I don't know how a person can cope with such a disorder, and their family members too...wow! Voted up!

AEvans profile image

AEvans 4 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

iamaudraleigh: It is a serious disorder and there are those who suffer daily from it. Those who have to deal with have a very large support group. It saddens me that a person's mind can be so complex and multiple personalities reside.

nikki 4 years ago

i am a survivor severe childhood neglect and sexual abuse i suffer from dids and with help from my therapest and a great friend hAve begun to accept and appreciate my alters for all the hard work and pain they endured protecting me when otherwise i would not have survived my childhood horror .

AEvans profile image

AEvans 4 years ago from SomeWhere Out There Author

nikki: It is so good to hear that you are doing wonderfully! It is also sad that you went through so much pain and suffering. So glad you are improving. :)

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